* Financial shares rally, help lift U.S., European indexes
* U.S. dollar rallies on U.S. “no devaluation” pledge
* Apple, IBM beat estimates, but shares fall after hours
* Tokyo’s Nikkei futures point to weak stocks at open (Recasts, adds US market close, adds comment, Nikkei futures)
By Daniel Bases
NEW YORK, Oct 18 (Reuters) - Financial shares led U.S. and European stock markets higher on Monday after Citigroup reported profits while the U.S. dollar rallied late after Washington said it would not devalue the greenback.
U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner told investors in Silicon Valley that China’s currency, the yuan, remains significantly undervalued even after Beijing has allowed more flexibility in its exchange rate regime.
“It is very important for people to understand that the United States of America and no country around the world can devalue its way to prosperity, to (be) competitive,” Geithner said. “It is not a viable, feasible strategy and we will not engage in it.” For details, see [ID:nWEN1314]
Citigroup Inc (C.N), whose near-death experience in the financial crisis required three different taxpayer rescues, pulled out a third straight quarterly profit. The results cheered up investors, at least temporarily, with growing concerns over the potential exposure major banks have to foreclosure losses.
“It is very much an earnings-driven day, it’s very much about the fact that the banks are trading well,” said Nick Kalivas, an analyst at MF Global in Chicago. “People are comfortable with what Citigroup had said about the foreclosure issue.”
European financial shares were also given a boost on news Royal Bank of Canada has agreed to buy UK-based fund manager BlueBay Asset Management BBAY.L at a 29 percent premium above Friday’s closing price.
Heading into Tuesday’s trade, Tokyo share prices were poised to open lower after marginal losses on Monday. The December futures contract for the Nikkei 225 stock index <0#NK:> trading in Chicago fell 45 points to 9515.
Comments from Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke on Friday that more stimulus was needed resonated into the new week, cementing the view that more quantitative easing (QE) would take place. However, assumptions for large amounts of stimulus appear to be fraying.
“After the news came out that the Fed most likely will be engaging in some quantitative easing next month people took that as a sign to finish out their short dollar trades,” said Brendan McGrath, manager of business solutions at Custom House, a Western Union company, in Victoria, British Columbia.
QE effectively requires the Fed to print more money, thus increasing supply and keeping interest rates at low levels.
Spot gold tacked on a few pennies but held just under its all-time high of $1,387.10 while crude oil prices advanced 2 percent.
Wall Street finished on a strong note. The Dow Jones industrial average .DJI rose 80.91 points, or 0.73 percent, to 11,143.69. The Standard & Poor's 500 Index .SPX gained 8.52 points, or 0.72 percent, to 1,184.71. The Nasdaq Composite Index .IXIC climbed 11.89 points, or 0.48 percent, at 2,480.66.
Citigroup Inc (C.N) shares rose 5.5 percent, to $4.17, after its results slightly beat Wall Street’s forecasts. For details see [ID:nN18138072].
The KBW bank index .BKX rose 2.98 percent after dropping 4.5 percent last week.
Shares of computer and phone maker Apple Inc (AAPL.O) fell 5.7 percent to $299.94 in after-hours trade after a bout of profit-taking following an 8-week 32 percent rally.
The company reported results that easily beat Wall Street forecasts but sales of its newest product, the iPad tablet, fell short of expectations. For more, click on [ID:nN18263801]
Shares in IBM also fell after the closing bell. International Business Machines Corp (IBM.N) reported a higher-than-expected profit and raised its outlook for the full year, but the shares fell to $301.79 on sluggish sales of technology services in after-hoours trading. [ID:nN18152165].
The pan-European FTSEurofirst 300 .FTEU3 index of top shares closed up 0.26 percent at 1,088.40. The MSCI All-Country World index .MIWD00000PUS rose 0.2 percent.
Shares of BlueBay, a leading European bond fund manager, rose 29.61 percent on the 963 million pounds ($1.5 billion) offer by RBC, Canada’s biggest bank by market value.
The dollar rallied 0.21 percent versus a basket of major trading-partner currencies .DXY on the Geithner comments.
The euro regained its footing but added just 0.01 at $1.3977 EUR=, still off last week's 8-1/2 month high. The greenback fell 0.29 percent to 81.19 yen JPY=, edging back towards a 15-year low of 80.88 hit on EBS last week.
On Monday, September’s reading of U.S. industrial production fell unexpectedly. [ID:nN18264813]
The benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury US10YT=RR rose 15/32 of a point in price, driving the yield down to 2.51 percent.
“Treasuries are trading higher because things aren’t good, and investors continue to stay engaged in dollar-denominated assets,” said Kevin Giddis, president of fixed income capital markets at Morgan Keegan in Memphis, Tennessee.
Crude oil CLc1 settled up $1.83 at $83.08. Spot gold prices XAU= fell $1.10 to $1,367.35 an ounce. (Additional reporting by Ellen Freilich, Wanfeng Zhou, Rodrigo Campos and Nick Olivari in New York, Lucia Mutikani in Washington and Jeremy Gaunt, Anirban Nag, and Harpreet Bhal in London; Editing by Kenneth Barry)